Wizards Insider: Pattern develops for gimpy team

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By Michael Lee
Monday, November 15, 2010; 12:49 PM

If the Wizards keep with their season-long trend, they will defeat Toronto on Tuesday, then lose the next two games to Boston and Memphis. The Wizards (2-6) have lost two, won one, lost two, won one, and lost two. At least they've been consistent in one area.

John Wall has had huge, history-making individual performances in the Wizards' two wins this season, which places a lot of pressure on the No. 1 overall pick to deliver. The task may have become more challenging, with Wall spraining his left foot Saturday in a loss to Chicago.

Wall is among several Wizards who came away with some bumps and bruises in that back-to-back set against the Charlotte Bobcats and the Bulls. Al Thornton came down with a stomach ailment against the Bobcats, then had a listless outing against the Bulls. Andray Blatche, still working himself back into shape after breaking his right foot over the summer, tried to play through soreness in his left knee until he was forced to shut down against the Bulls. And, Yi Jianlian was relieved that his right knee injury wasn't more serious after a frightening collision with Wall in the same game.

JaVale McGee isn't injured, but Coach Flip Saunders has kept him on the bench during some critical stretches of the past two games. He benched him the entire fourth quarter against Chicago and the final six minutes against Charlotte for failing to give the Wizards the interior presence Saunders seeks from his big man. McGee has blocked 10 shots in his past three games, but he hasn't played more than 23 minutes in any of them. "He's got a ways to go," Saunders said. "He's got to learn substance over style. In a game, there's 200 plays. He has five spectacular plays in a game, he's got to get more consistent in those other 195 plays."

With Gilbert Arenas breaking out of his season-long shooting slump by scoring 30 points in 32 minutes against the Bulls, and Trevor Booker and Hilton Armstrong providing some quality production off the bench, Saunders may have to make some adjustments to his rotation.

For a team that's on pace to win 20 games, it would seem that there is opportunity. And if injuries to Wall, Blatche and Yi are more serious than initially diagnosed, then Saunders may not be left with any other choice but to make some changes.


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